18 August 1942

18 August 1942

18 August 1942



Occupied Europe

British and Canadian troops depart from British ports at the start of the disastrous raid on Dieppe

Middle East

General Alexander is appointed Commander-in-Chief Middle East with General Montgomery to command the 8th Army

Eastern Front

German troops cross the Kuban river at Krasnodar

World War II Today: August 18

Further heavy raids by Luftwaffe on southeast England and southern London. Major damage is done to RAF airfields and fighter commands control system. British claim 144 Germans shot down, later revised to 67 with RAF losses of 33 planes lost but eight pilots safe.

The last of the British rearguard in British Somaliland slip away in darkness, race into Berbera and embark on the morning. British bombers attack Italian units at Laferug and the airfield at Addis Abeba.

Italian aircraft attack Berbera, but there are no more military targets.

Walter P. Chrysler, founder of Chrysler Corporation, dies at age 65.

German-American Bund (Nazi) and Ku Klux Klan hold anti-war rally in New Jersey.

Russians withdraw across the Dnieper River, allowing the 1st Panzer Group to establish a bridgehead across the river at Zaporozhe, in the Ukraine.

President Roosevelt signs extension of Selective Service Act, extending draftees’ service from 12 to 30 months.

Radio Belgrade plays obscure recording of “Lili Marleen” by Lale Andersen, which becomes an instant hit with German troops in North Africa.

John Gillespie Magee Jr., an American serving in the RCAF (age 19) writes his famous poem “High Flight.”

Alexander replaces Auchinleck as C-in-C of the Middle East. Montgomery’s appointment officially announced.

Japan sends a crack army to Guadalcanal to repulse the U.S. Marines fighting there.

Portugal, invoking her 1373 alliance with Great Britain, agrees to allow Allied forces the use of the Azores Islands for naval and air bases.

A U.S. cruiser and destroyer force shells Gioia, Taura and Palmi on the coast of Italy.

Allied air forces fly 3,057 sorties against the Falaise pocket.

The German Seventh Army moves across the Orme but 18,000 prisoners are taken. The Germans begin the evacuations of their troops stationed near the Spanish border and the Gulf of Biscay.

The Red Army recaptures Sandomir in Galicia.

A Japanese escort carrier is sunk by a U.S. submarine off northwestern Luzon, Philippine Is. A Japanese cruiser is sunk by a U.S. submarine east of Samar, Philippine Islands.

In last air conflict of war, US reconnaissance planes are attacked by flak and fighters over Tokyo, 1 killed (photographer Sgt. Anthony Marchione), the last American killed in the war, 2 Japanese fighters are shot down.

How an Obsolete Bomber Got a New Lease on Life

A formation of Douglas B-18s of the 19th Bomb Group, 32nd Bomb Squadron, embarks on a training mission in September 1938.

When the Douglas B-18 bomber joined antisubmarine warfare patrols, an old dog learned a new trick.

On August 22, 1942, Oberleutnant-zur-See Ludwig Forster was enjoying a brief respite from torpedoing Allied merchant ships in the Caribbean Sea when U-654’s lookout spotted an aircraft approaching. Forster, who promptly ordered a crash dive, had no clue that the aircraft that was attacking his submarine would one day be derided as obsolete and incapable of combat operations. All Forster knew was that the Douglas B-18 bomber was a threat to his ship.

Captain P.A. Koenig’s B-18 swooped down, dropping all four of its 600-pound depth charges on the German submarine. U-654 was torn apart by the subsequent explosion, making it the first victim of B-18 antisubmarine warfare (ASW) patrols.

The origins of the B-18 date back to 1934, when the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) issued a requirement to improve the range of its Martin B-10 bomber force. Three companies responded to a request for an aircraft that could carry a ton of bombs at 200 mph over a distance of 2,000 miles. Flight testing on the new designs began in July 1935.

Boeing offered its Model 299, a four-engine bomber with many advanced features that was capable of outperforming its twin-engine competitors. USAAC generals were very impressed and wanted to see the big plane in production, but the Army General Staff deemed it too expensive and signed off on the procurement of only 13 developmental aircraft, designating them YB-17 Flying Fortresses.

Martin responded with an improved version of the B-10 bomber, but its inferior performance left Douglas’ Model DB-1 the winner of the competition. Designated the B-18 Bolo, it was based on Douglas’ successful DC-2 commercial airliner. The Army ordered 177 aircraft, and Douglas delivered the first production B-18, equipped with 930-hp Wright Cyclone engines, to Wright Field on February 23, 1937. The 2nd, 5th, 7th and 19th Heavy Bombardment groups received shipments of the new bomber and began putting them to the test.

The greatest drawback to the B-18 design was the cramped bombardier position. Douglas redesigned the nose of the aircraft, creating the B-18A’s distinctive profile. Douglas also upgraded the engines to 1,000-hp Wright Cyclones, equipped with fully feathering propellers. Those changes were implemented in April 1938, beginning with the 134th aircraft, and the USAAC ordered an additional 211 aircraft. Douglas had delivered a total of 217 B-18As by January 1940.

The B-18s participated in U.S. Army airlift as well as airborne maneuvers. Experiments with the new aircraft included powered turrets, airborne radar and 75mm cannon tests. The latter experiment led to the production of the North American B-25G and H models with nose-mounted cannons.

With war imminent in Europe, Douglas hoped to sell large numbers of B-18s to Great Britain, but the firm only managed to sign a 20-plane contract with the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Digby Mark I entered RCAF service with No. 10 Squadron (Bomber Reconnaissance).

Despite its strong points, the Bolo was totally outclassed by European aircraft of 1939. In an effort to keep the production program alive, Douglas proposed a radical redesign, which the USAAC accepted without a prototype. The last 38 aircraft of the contract were delivered as B-23 Dragons—faster and incorporating the first tail turret on a USAAC bomber. Delivered in July 1939, they went into immediate service with the 17th Bombardment Group.

The Douglas bombers were totally unsuited to long-range bombing missions in hostile airspace. The Army Air Corps was expanding so fast, however, that factories could not keep up with the demand for new bombers. B-18s and B-18As still equipped 34 bombardment and nine reconnaissance squadrons at the time of the United States’ entry into the war in December 1941. They were serving with every numbered major command, and they were the most numerous bomber deployed overseas. The Army hoped the B-18 could fill the gap until more suitable aircraft became available in quantity.

When the German U-boats began patrolling North American waters, RCAF Digbys were the first Douglas bombers to see action. Number 10 Squadron moved to Nova Scotia and began ASW patrols. A Digby piloted by Squadron Leader C.L. Annis made the first RCAF attack on a U-boat on October 25, 1941. During the course of the Digbys’ combat service with the RCAF, they conducted 11 attacks on U-boats and destroyed one sub: U-520, sunk east of Newfoundland by another of No. 10 Squadron’s planes on October 30, 1942.

USAAC B-18s did not have long to wait for action. On December 7, 1941, the 5th and 11th Bombardment groups at Hickam Field, Hawaii, had 39 bombers, 33 of which were B-18s. The 28th Bombardment Squadron at Clark Field in the Philippines had another 12 Bolos. Many B-18s were among the aircraft destroyed at Hickam and Clark fields during the initial Japanese attacks.

The surviving B-18s in Hawaii, as well as squadrons in Alaska, participated in armed reconnaissance patrols after the attack. When Midway Atoll was threatened in May 1942, Hawaii-based B-17s and B-18s joined U.S. Navy patrol bombers searching for the Japanese Combined Fleet. Not until November 1942 were enough B-17s available to replace the B-18s in the Pacific.

The surviving B-18s in the Philippines were used as armed transports between Mindanao and Luzon. When resistance finally collapsed there, many USAAC pursuit pilots were evacuated to Australia in B-18s. Bolos in the Far East continued to serve as armed transports through the Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands campaigns.

When the United States entered the war, demands for new bombers far outpaced American industrial capability. The Bolo continued to serve in bombardment squadrons based in the United States and the Caribbean. In these theaters, the B-18s found a new role as an ASW bomber. By the end of 1941, four B-18 squadrons from the East Coast and six from the West Coast, as well as all 15 Caribbean squadrons, had been dedicated to ASW patrols. The number of B-18 squadrons flying those patrols varied through October 1942 as the ASW forces were realigned.

This Douglas B-18B Bolo is equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector in a tail boom. (U.S. Air Force)

With America in the war, Britain shared some of the technological innovations it was employing against the German U-boats. The U.S. Army took advantage of this technology and upgraded 122 Bolos to B-18Bs and B-18Cs. The B-18B replaced the glazed bombardier’s position with a radome containing an SCR-517-T-4 air-to-surface vessel radar. Some modified Bolos were also equipped with a Mark IV magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) installed in a boom extending from the tail of the aircraft. The MAD system notified electronics operators when they passed over a large metallic object, even if it was submerged. As a Bolo passed over a submarine, a set of retro bomb racks could use a small rocket charge to propel a depth charge rearward toward the target, offsetting the forward momentum of the aircraft.

The U.S. Army Air Forces (as it was redesignated in June 1941) was also developing new tactics to take advantage of its ASW capability. The Eastern Defense Command formed the 1st Sea-Search Attack Group in September 1942 with B-18Bs and other aircraft, and the Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command (AAFAC) was activated on October 15. Of the eight squadrons initially assigned to the AAFAC, five were flying Bolos.

Douglas bombers claimed four U-boats and a whale (much to the embarrassment of Captain N.D. Meadowcroft and his crew) during the war. The 45th Bombardment Squadron recorded the first B-18 kill on August 22, 1942, when Captain Koenig sank U-654. Then a Lieutenant Lehti of the 99th Bombardment Squadron sank U-512 on October 2, 1942. The RCAF Digbys got the next kill on October 30, when Flight Officer D.F. Raymes of No. 10 Squadron sank U-520. The final kill by a B-18 occurred on August 8, 1943, when Lieutenant Milton Wiederold of the 10th Bombardment Squadron, piloting B-18B Robust Man, assisted U.S. Navy Martin PBM Mariner patrol bombers in sinking U-615.

B-18s contributed to the safety of shipping throughout the Western Hemisphere. They patrolled from Nova Scotia to Brazil, where the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) operated two Bolos modified to B-18B standards and provided under the Lend-Lease program.

Digbys occasionally served in roles beyond ASW patrols. Group Captain Roy Holmes Foss and his crew were conducting Atlantic ice patrols in their Digby on March 11, 1942, for example, when they spotted a different target. Foss’ crew sprang into action photographing the target and noting its location. As soon as they returned to base, Foss contacted the sealing fleet. He and his crew had found the main seal herd, and their report helped make that year’s hunt very productive.

The AAFAC had seven Bolo squadrons by the end of November 1942, when those units were redesignated antisubmarine squad­rons. At that point the USAAF was committing its four-engine bombers to strategic bombing operations as fast as they could be built, and the B-18s had to labor on. By mid-1943, a couple of antisubmarine squadrons were able to trade their Bolos for Consolidated B-24 Liberators, but the transition was proceeding slowly. The B-18 might have served in ASW roles throughout the war had antisubmarine warfare not undergone a sudden change.

In August 1943, the U.S. Army and Navy came to an unprecedented agreement. Before World War II, Congress had mandated that the Navy was not permitted to operate land-based combat aircraft. During the war, these rules were gradually modified. The Navy sought greater control over all aspects of naval warfare, and the Army needed all its units for combat operations in Europe and the Pacific. In mid-1943, the Army agreed to turn over all ASW operations to the Navy. The USAAF disbanded the AAFAC and turned most of the modified B-24s over to the Navy. The Navy supplemented those aircraft with new Consolidated PB4Y Liberators, at which point it had no need for the B-18s.

The USAAF B-18 squadrons, both in the AAFAC and the Sixth Air Force, were reequipped with the new Boeing B-29 bombers and prepared for transfer to the Pacific theater beginning in November 1943. The Bolo’s combat career with the USAAF had come to a close, but these aircraft joined B-23s in noncombat roles. By the end of 1943, only the FAB’s B-18s were still conducting combat patrols.

After the war, many Bolos and Dragons were sold to commercial operators who used them for cargo hauling or crop spraying, and some of the surplus B-23s were refitted as corporate aircraft, equipped with a new, longer metal nose, full washroom facilities and accommodations for 12 passengers in two compartments. Civil Dragons were still flying in the late 1970s, and several Bolos were flying into the 1980s.

Five Bolos and four Dragons have been preserved and are on display to the public. Castle Air Museum in California has an original B-18 (serial no. 37-029) and a B-23 (39-045). The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, has a B-18A (37-489) and a B-23 (39-037). Another B-18A (39-025) can be seen at Wings Over the Rockies Museum (aka Cannon AFB Museum) in Denver, Colo. McChord Air Museum in Washington has a B-18B (37-505) and a B-23 (39-036). Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz., also has a B-18B (38-593) and a B-23 (39-051).

The Bolo originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of Aviation History. Subscribe here!

18 August 1942 - History


Note: These losses are from the original and uncorrected"British Vessels Lost at Sea, 1935-45", published by HMSO in 1947. Up-to-date information can be found for major warships by clicking on Royal Navy Ships on all vessels by searching the internet using the prefix HMS

Key: Loss date are given as Year/Month/Day. In Brackets: R - Requisitioned for Royal Navy service tonnage is either standard displacement or gross registered date is date of completion.

Casualties for these vessels can be found in "Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies "

Motor Gun Boats, MGB

No.12 (31t, 10/8/40), mined, Milford Haven, February 3, 1941

No.17 (30t, 19/12/40), sunk, possibly mined, off Normandy, June 11, 1944

No.18 (30t, 22/5/41), sunk by surface craft gunfire off Terschelling, Holland, September 30, 1942

No.19 (30t, 28/7/41), bombed and wrecked on slipway, November 6, 1942

No.62 (28t, 31/12/40), lost in collision, North Sea, August 9, 1941

No.64 (28t, 11/2/41), foundered on patrol in heavy weather between England and Ostend. Subsequently salved, August 8, 1943

No.76 (33t, 14/5/42), sunk by E-boat, North Sea, October 6, 1942

No.78 (33t, 8/6/42), surface craft gunfire off Holland, beached and abandoned. Date given as October 2nd-3rd, 1942

No.79 (37t, 24/7/42), sunk in action with surface craft, Hook of Holland area, February 28, 1943

No.90 (33t), destroyed by fire, Portland Harbour, July 6, 1941

No.92 (33t), destroyed by fire, Portland Harbour, July 6, 1941

No.98, lost in air raid on coastal forces base HMS Hornet, June 1941

No.99, constructive total loss, April 1945

No.109 (37t, 30/9/42), mined and severely damaged on the 7th. Formally paid off, February 25, 1943

No.110 (37t, 14/11/42), sunk in action with surface craft in Dunkirk area, May 29, 1943

No.313 (67t, 12/6/41), sunk by mine or torpedo off Normandy, August 16, 1944

No.314 (67t, 26/6/41), damaged in action and sunk by own forces at St. Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.326 (67t, 18/8/41), sunk by mine off Normandy, June 28, 1944

No.328 (67t, 13/10/41), lost during attack on enemy convoy, Dover Straits, July 21, 1942

No.335 (67t, 3/10/41), set on fire in action with surface craft, North Sea seriously damaged. Date given as September 10th-11th, 1942

No.501 (19/5/42), internal explosion off Lands End, Cornwall, July 27, 1942

No.601 (85t, 9/3/42), sunk by enemy action, Dover Straits, July 24, 1942

No.641 (90t, 29/12/42), sunk by shore battery gunfire from Italian mainland, Straits of Messina. Date given as July 14th-15th, 1943

No.644 (90t, 12/42), mined between Marsala and Mazzara, Sicily. Sunk by own forces, June 26, 1943

No.648 (90t, 1/43), sunk by aircraft, Pantellaria, Central Mediterrranean, June 14, 1943

No.663 (90t, 8/3/43), sunk by mine off Maestra Point, NE Adriatic, October 10, 1944

No.2002 (93t, 5/7/43), sunk by mine on passage Aberdeen to Gothenburg, Sweden, May 12, 1945

No.2007 (93t, 28/8/43), broke in two off Aberdeen, Scotland, after grounding (22nd), May 24, 1945

Motor Torpedo Boats, MTB

No.6 (18t, 1936), foundered in bad weather off Sardinia, W Mediterranean, November 16, 1939

No.7 (18t, 1938), scuttled at Hong Kong, December 26, 1941

No.8 (18t, 1937), destroyed by fire during raid on Hong Kong, December 16, 1941

No.9 (18t, 1937), scuttled at Hong Kong, December 26, 1941

No.10 (18t, 1938), scuttled at Hong Kong, December 26, 1941

No.11 (18t, 1938), scuttled at Hong Kong, December 26, 1941

No.12 (18t, 1938), sunk in action with Japanese landing craft, Hong Kong, December 20, 1941

No.15 (18t, 1939), mined, Thames Estuary, SE England, September 24, 1940

No.16 (18t, 1939), mined, Thames Estuary, October 31, 1940

No.17 (18t, 1939), probably mined, off Ostend, Belgium, October 21, 1940

No.26 (14t, 1938), sunk in action with Japanese landing craft, Hong Kong, December 20, 1941

No.27 (14t, 1938), scuttled at Hong Kong, December 26, 1941

No.28 (37t, 10/7/40), lost by fire, March 7, 1941

No.29 (34t, 2/6/40), sank after collision when in action with E-boats, North Sea, October 6, 1942

No.30 (34t, 11/7/40), mined, North Sea, December 18, 1942

No.41 (33t, 7/11/40), mined, North Sea, February 14, 1941

No.43 (33t, 13/1/41), sunk by surface craft off Gravelines, NE France, August 18, 1942

No.44 (33t. 1/4/41), sank in action with surface craft, Dover Straits, English Channel, August 7, 1942

No.47 (33t, 8/7/41), sunk in action with surface craft off Gris Nez, NE France, January 17, 1942

No.61 (35t, 9/1/42), lost, stranded in attack on motor barges, off Kelibia, Tunisia, May 9, 1943

No.63 (35t, 18/2/42), lost in collision off Benghazi, Libya, April 2, 1943

No.64 (35t, 23/2/42), lost in collision off Benghazi, Libya, April 2, 1943

No.67 (17t, 19/4/40), sunk by aircraft, destroyed or beached, Suda Bay, Crete. Date given as May 23rd-June 2nd, 1941

No.68 (17t, 19/4/40), sunk in collision off Libya, December 14, 1941

No.73 (38t, 3/10/41), sunk by aircraft, Maddalena, Sardinia, November 24, 1943

No.74 (33t, 17/12/41), lost after leaving St. Nazaire, W France. Date approximate, March 28, 1942

No.77 (38t, 28/5/42), sunk by aircraft off Vibo Valencia, SW Italy, September 8, 1943

No.87 (38t, 12/6/42), mined, North Sea, October 31, 1942

No.93 (38t, 10/9/42), lost in collision off Harwich, E England, August 18, 1944

No.105 (9t, 8/40), taken in tow and sunk by own forces, January 1, 1943

No.106 (June 1940), mined, Thames Estuary, SE England, October 16, 1940

No.201 (38t, 27/11/41), sank in action with surface craft, Dover Straits, English Channel, June 15, 1942

No.213 (17t, 24/10/40), sunk by aircraft, destroyed or beached, Suda Bay, Crete. Date given as May 23rd-June 2nd, 1941

No.214 (17t, 10/40), sunk by aircraft, destroyed or beached, Suda Bay, Crete. Date given as May 23rd-June 2nd, 1941

No.215 (17t, 6/12/40), paid off, presumed lost, March 29, 1942

No.216 (17t, 3/1/41), sunk by aircraft, destroyed or beached, Suda Bay, Crete. Date given as May 23rd-June 2nd, 1941

No.217 (17t, 7/1/41), sunk by aircraft, destroyed or beached, Suda Bay, Crete. Date given as May 23rd-June 2nd, 1941

No.218 (35t, 9/6/41), sunk by surface craft and mine, Dover Straits, August 18, 1942

No.220 (35t, 30/7/41), sunk in action with E-boat off Ambleteuse, NE France, May 13, 1942

No.222 (Royal Netherlands Navy, 38t, 15/2/42), mined, North Sea. Date given as November 9th-10th, 1943

No.230 (38t, 5/5/42), rammed by MTB 222 in action, North Sea. Date given as November 9th-10th, 1943

No.237 (38t, 18/6/42), sank after action with surface craft off Barfleur, France, August 7, 1942

No.241 (38t, 30/3/42), sunk by enemy action off ljmuiden and Helder, March 31, 1944

No.242 (40t, 23/10/42), sunk whilst being towed to Malta, July 1945

No.243 (40t, 18/11/42), sunk as target. Date reported, July 1945

No.248 (41t, 4/3/43), sunk in collision, English Channel, June 6, 1944

No.255 (36t, 30/7/43), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.259 (32t), lost in tow in Mediterranean, June 1942

No.261 (32t), sunk at Alexandria, August 26, 1945

No.262 (32t), formally paid off, February 24, 1943

No.264 (32t), mined off Sousse, Tunisia, May 10, 1943

No.267 (32t), damaged in heavy weather on passage from Benghazi to Malta. Sunk by own forces, April 2, 1943

No.287 (36t, 12/3/43), grounded on Levron Island, Adriatic, and subsequently destroyed by own forces, November 24, 1944

No.288 (40t, 26/3/43), sunk by aircraft, Augusta, Sicily. Date given as July 21st-22nd, 1943

No.308 (34t, 31/1/42), probably aircraft attack off Tobruk, Libya, September 14, 1942

No.310 (38t, 10/2/42), probably aircraft attack off Tobruk, Libya, September 14, 1942

No.311 (34t, 17/2/42), mined, Central Mediterranean, May 2, 1943

No.312 (34t, 21/2/42), probably aircraft attack off Tobruk, Libya, September 14, 1942

No.314 (34t, 2/3/42), probably aircraft attack off Tobruk, Libya, September 14, 1942

No.316 (34t, 12/3/42), torpedoed by Italian cruiser off Reggio, S Italy, July 17, 1943

No.338, fire and explosion, Trinidad, West Indies, May 16, 1942

No.347 (37t, 18/3/43), sunk by surface craft off Ymuiden, Holland, October 1, 1944

No.352 (37t, 31/5/43), sunk in collision, North Sea. Date given as March 25th-26th, 1944

No.356 (37t, 1/7/43), sunk by surface shps off Holland, October 16, 1943

No.357 (37t, 25/8/43), sunk accidentally after damage by surface craft on the 23rd, December 24, 1943

No.360 (37t, 30/6/43), sunk by surface craft off Ymuiden, Holland, October 1, 1944

No.371 (4/10/43), grounded on Levron Island, Adriatic, and subsequently destroyed by own forces, November 24, 1944

No.372 (47t, 7/10/43), sunk by surface craft gunfire when patrolling off Cape Loviste, Adriatic. Date given as July 23rd-24th, 1944

No.412 (37t, 14/2/42), sunk in collision off Normandy. Date given as July 26th-27th, 1944

No.417 (37t, 8/9/42), sunk by surface vessel, whilst attacking convoy between Calais and Boulogne. Date given as March 15th-16th, 1944

No.430 (37t, 16/11/42), rammed by E-boat off Normandy. Date given as July 26th-27th, 1944

No.434 (37t, 25/1/43), sunk by surface craft off Normandy, July 9, 1944

No.438 (37t, 31/3/43), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.444 (37t, 21/7/43), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.448 (37t, 23/9/43), sunk by accident in torpedo attack by friendly aircraft off Normandy, June 11, 1944

No.459 (On loan to RCN, 41t, 2/3/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.460 (On loan to RCN, 41t, 22/3/44), sunk by mine off Normandy, July 3, 1944

No.461 (On loan to RCN, 41t, 15/3/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.462 (On loan to RCN, 41t, 25/3/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.463 (On loan to RCN, 41t, 25/3/44), sunk by mine off Normandy, July 8, 1944

No.465 (On loan to RCN 41t, 31/3/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.466 (On loan to RCN 41t, 18/4/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.494 (44t, 9/11/44), rammed and sunk by E-boats, North Sea, April 7, 1945

No.605 102t, 16/6/42), foundered after striking sub/merged obstruction on passage Ostend to Dover, February 17, 1945

No.606 (90t, 7/7/42), sunk by surface craft off Hook of Holland. Date given as November 3rd-4th, 1943

No.622 (95t, 10/42), sunk by surface craft in attack on convoy off Terschelling, Holland, March 10, 1943

No.626 (Royal Norwegian Navy, 95t, 8/42), lost by fire, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, November 22, 1943

No.631 (Royal Norwegian Navy, 95t, 8/42), grounded during attack on ships in Norwegian Fiords, March 14, 1943

No.635 (102t, 11/42), sunk as target. Date reported, July 1945

No.636 (95t, 1/43), sunk by surface craft off Elba, W Italy, October 15, 1943

No.639 (95t, 22/1/43), sunk by aircraft, Central Mediterranean, April 28, 1943

No.640 (85t, 1/11/42), sunk by mine, Leghorn/Spezia area, NW Italy. Date given as June 26th-27th, 1944

No.655 (102t, 1/43), sunk by mine, Quarnero Gulf, NE Adriatic, March 21, 1945

No.665 (95t, 5/43), sunk by shore battery gunfire, Messina, Sicily, August 15, 1943

No.666 (95t, 10/6/43), sunk by surface craft off Holland, July 4-5, 1944

No.669 (95t, 29/4/43), sunk by surface craft off Norwegian coast, October 26, 1943

No.671 (95t, 16/5/43), sunk in torpedo attack on destroyers off Barfleur, N France, April 24, 1944

No.681 (95t, 7/43), sunk when attacking convoy off Holland. Date given as June 9th-10th, 1944

No.686 (95t, 9/6/43), lost by fire, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, November 22, 1943

No.690 (102t, 15/9/43), lost after striking wreck, January 18, 1945

No.697 (102t, 7/43), sunk by mine off Krk Island, NE Adriatic, April 17, 1945

No.705 (102t, 7/8/43), sunk by mine, Maknare Channel, NE Adriatic, March 23, 1945

No.707 (95t, 11/43), cut in two in collision off N Ireland, April 18, 1944

No.708 (95t, 11/43), damaged by friendly aircraft English Channel, and subsequently sunk by own forces, May 5, 1944

No.710 (102t, 18/9/43), sunk by mine near Zara, NE Adriatic, April 10, 1945

No.712 (102t, 10/2/44), formally paid off, July 19, 1945

No.715 (On loan to R Norwegian Navy, 102t, 9/12/43), sunk by explosion at Fosnavaag, Norway, May 19, 1945

No.732 (97t, 17/4/44), sunk by accident, English Channel, May 28, 1944

No.734 (97t, 30/5/44), damaged by Beaufighters and eventually sunk by own forces, North Sea, June 26, 1944

No.776 (108t, 8/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.782 (108t, 25/10/44), sunk by mine off River Schelde, Holland, December 29, 1944

No.789 (108t, 17/10/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.791 (108t, 4/11/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.798 (108t, 16/10/44), lost by fire and explosion, Ostend harbour, Belgium, February 14, 1945

No.5001 (102t, 18/12/44), sunk by E-boats, North Sea, April 7, 1945

Steam Gun Boat, SGB

No.7 (135t, 11/3/42), sunk in action with surface craft, English Channel, June 19, 1942

Motor Launches, ML

No.103 (57t, 28/6/40), mined, Dover Straits, English Channel, August 24, 1942

No.108 (66t, 4/7/40), mined, English Channel, September 5, 1943

No.109 (57t, August 1940), mined, off Humber, October 30, 1940

No.111 (57t, July 1940), presumed mined, off Humber, November 25, 1940

No.126 (75t, 19/9/40), lost after damage by U-boat torpedo, W Italy, November 27, 1943

No.127 (65t, 7th Nov 1940), mined, Thames Estuary, November 22, 1940

No.129 (73t, 14/10/40), sunk by aircraft bombs off Algeria, March 22, 1942

No.130 (73t, 9/10/40), sunk by gunfire during engagement off Malta, May 7, 1942

No.133 (75t, 12/12/40), lost by fire and explosion, W Scotland, May 11, 1943

No.144 (73t, 12/11/40), mined, English Channel, September 22, 1941

No.156 (73t, 18/12/40), damaged in action and sunk by own forces at St. Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.160 (73t, 27/12/40), sunk by aircraft bombs, Brixham, S Devon, May 6, 1942

No.169 (73t, 27/11/40), fire and explosion, Gibraltar Harbour, February 15, 1942

No.177 (73t, 12/40), missing, presumed sunk at St Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.183 (75t, 10/2/41), sunk after collision with East Pier, Dieppe, N France, February 11, 1945

No.192 (Free French Navy, 73t, I/8/41) French Force), missing, presumed sunk at St Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.210 (On loan to R Norwegian Navy, 75t, 7/4/41), sunk by mine off Dieppe, February 15, 1944

No.216 (75t, 28/5/41), foundered in heavy weather after being mined (19th), North Sea, September 28, 1944

No.219 (73t, 17/5/41), grounded off Stornoway, NW Scotland. Constructive total loss, November 21, 1941

No.230 (75t, 28/3/41), sunk in collision, August 17, 1945

No.242 (73t, 28/5/41), gutted by fire, November 29, 1942

No.251 (75t, 7/41), rammed and sunk accidentally, Atlantic area, March 6, 1943

No.262 (Free French Navy, 73t, 18/6/41), missing, presumed sunk at St Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.265 (75t, 30/5/41), destroyed by petrol fire and explosion, Freetown, W Africa, July 1, 1944

No.267 (Free French Navy, 73t, 25/7/41), missing, presumed sunk, at St Nazaire, W France, March 28, 1942

No.268 (Free French Navy, 73t, 17/7/41), missing, presumed sunk, at St Nazaire, W France, March 28, 1942

No.270 (73t, 26/6/41), damaged in action and sunk by own forces at St. Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.287 (75t, 23/8/41), destroyed by petrol fire and explosion, Freetown, W Africa, July 1, 1944

No.288 (73t, 19/8/41), heavy weather off Hartlepool, October 11, 1941

No.298 (73t, 21/11/41), missing, presumed sunk, at St Nazaire, W France, March 28, 1942

No.301 (73t, 2/12/41), expIosion, Freetown area, W Africa, August 9, 1942

No.306 (73t, 18/12/41), missing, presumed sunk, at St Nazaire, W France, March 28, 1942

No.310 (73t, 29/11/41), lost in action with surface craft, Tjebia Island, February 15, 1942

No.311 (73t, 29/11/41), sunk by Japanese gunfire. Banka Straits, Sumatra, February 14, 1942

No.339 (73t, 16/10/41), sunk by surface craft torpedo, North Sea, October 7, 1942

No.352 (73t, 9/6/42), sunk by aircraft, Tobruk, Libya, September 14, 1942

No.353 (73t, 26/5/42), sunk by aircraft, Tobruk, Libya, September 14, 1942

No.358 (75t, 9/42), lost off Leros island, Dodecanese, November 12, 1943

No.387 (75t, 1/6/43), destroyed by internal explosion, Beirut Harbour, Syria, March 5, 1944

No.443 (75t. 11/41), mined off Vada, W Italy. Fore part blown off, July 12, 1944

No.446 (73t, 21/11/41), damaged in action and sunk by own forces at St. Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.447 (73t, 8/1/42), sunk in action, St. Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.457 (73t, 21/11/41), sunk in action, St. Nazaire, March 28, 1942

No.466 (75t, 31/3/42), sunk by mine off Walcheren, Holland, March 25, 1945

No.558 (75t, 12/2/43), mined, N Adriatic, total loss, May 5, 1945

No.563 (75t, 3/3/43), sunk by mine off Frejus, S France, August 16, 1944

No.579 (75t, 3/6/43), sunk by aircraft, Leros island, Dodecanese, October 26, 1943

No.591 (75t, 18/4/44), foundered in tidal wave, Sittang River estuary, Burma, May 9, 1945

No.835 (75t, 8/8/43), sunk by aircraft, Leros island, Dodecanese, October 12, 1943

No.870 (75t, 2/8/44), sunk by mine off Piraeus, Greece, October 15, 1944

No.891 (75t, 28/3/44), sunk by mine, Kyauk Pyu, N of Ramree Island, Burma, January 24, 1945

No.905 (75t, 10/5/44), foundered in tidal wave, Sittang River estuary, Burma, May 9, 1945

No.916 (75t, 16/9/44), sunk by mine at Walsoorden, Holland, November 8, 1944

No.1003 (40t, 3/1/41), on board ship torpedoed and lost in Atlantic, April 20, 1941

No.1011 (40t, 16/11/40), bombed and sunk on passage from Suda Bay to Sphakia, Crete, May 10, 1941

No.1015 (40t, 24/2/41), lost in heavy weather, Eastern Mediterranean, October 1943

No.1030 (40t, 11/11/40), lost on passage from Suda Bay, Crete, May 28, 1941

No.1037 (40t, 3/1/41), 0n board ship torpedoed and lost in Atlantic, April 20, 1941

No.1054 (40t, 6/11/41), total loss, November 1943

No.1057 (40t, 30/9/41), lost through detonation of demolition charges off Kilindini, E Africa, October 13, 1944

No.1062 (40t, 9/42), sunk by gunfire, Banka Straits, Sumatra, February 16, 1942

No.1063 (40t, 1/42), sunk in action, Tanjong Priok, Java, March 1, 1942

No.1083 (40t, 23/10/41), lost through grounding in Gulf of Kos, Aegean, February 20, 1944

No.1121 (40t, 10/7/42), formally paid off, December 31, 1943

No.1153 (40t, 18/8/42), destroyed by enemy action en route for Turkey, September 1942

No.1154 (40t, 30/1/43), mined at Bizerta, Tunisia, May 14, 1943

No.1157 (40t, 30/12/42), lost in shipment, April 1943

No.1163 (46t, 31/12/42), sunk by torpedo, probably surface craft, Mulat Island, NE Adriatic, January 5, 1945

No.1179 (40t, 4/3/43), sunk off Rio Bueno, Jamaica, in hurricane, August 21, 1944

No.1212 (40t, 30/12/42), lost in shipment, April 1943

No.1227 (44t, 24/11/42), sunk by surface craft off Piraeus, Greece, October 5, 1944

No.1244 (40t, 20/8/43), lost on passage, November 1943

No.1289 (40t, 2/7/43), lost on passage, November 1943

No.1380 (40t, 16/9/43), missing in Aegean, March 1944

No.1388 (40t, 25/11/43), grounded off Hartlepool, December 24, 1943

No.1417 (46t, 28/3/44), sunk by mine, in tow, off Flushing, Holland, February 15, 1945


It was announced in February 1914 that Captain William Turner would be the first master of the ship. The Aquitania’s passenger accommodation was superior to anything seen on the North Atlantic before. The first class drawing room was decorated in the Adam style, copied from certain features in Landsdowne House in London.
The walls were adorned with prints of English seaports and portraits of Royalty and prominent people of the day. The smoking room was modeled on Greenwich Hospital with oak panelling and beams, the restaurant was decorated in Louis XIV style and the grill room was decorated in Jacobean style. With public rooms of this standard and passenger cabins superior to those on previous Cunarders it was no surprise that the Aquitania became one of the best-known Cunard liners.

The Aquitania left Liverpool on its maiden voyage on 30 May 1914, bound for New York. The tragic loss of the Empress of Ireland, and 1,000 of those on board, the day before overshadowed this event. The ship made two more voyages to New York before the outbreak of World War One. It was then requisitioned by the Government to serve as an armed merchant cruiser and was converted for this role in Liverpool. It was then commissioned into the Royal Navy on 7 August and its first assignment was to patrol the Western Approaches, returning to the Mersey on 16 August.

On its next voyage in this role it collided with the Leyland ship Canadian on 22 August, during thick fog, and had to return to Liverpool. The subsequent enquiry concluded that the Aquitania was too large to be used as an armed merchant cruiser. Repair work on the ship was finished by the end of 1914. On 18 June 1915 it was again requisitioned by the Government, this time to serve as a troopship and assist in the Gallpoli campaign. On 25 June it left Liverpool with a full complement of over 5,000 troops on board. After three voyages as a troop transport it was then converted into a hospital ship and served this role during December 1915 and January 1916.
On 10 April 1916 it was de-commissioned from Government service and was reconditioned by Harland & Wolff in order to return to Cunard service. When this was almost complete the Government was forced to requisition the Aquitania once again to serve as a hospital ship in November 1916. The ship served in the Mediterranean for the rest of the year and was then anchored in the Solent for the whole of 1917. The entry of the USA into the war in December 1917 brought the ship back into service to transport the American Expeditionary Force. After the war it was also used in the repatriation of Canadian troops.

From November 1919 until June 1920 the ship underwent an extensive refit at Armstrong Whitworth & Co on the Tyne. Whilst this was being done the opportunity was taken to convert the ship to oil burning, as opposed to coal. After trials north of Scotland, it made its next voyage from Liverpool to New York on 17 July. After returning from this the ship was to operate on the Southampton-Cherbourg-New York route, along with the Mauretania andBerengaria. During annual winter refits in 1926 1927 and 1928 the passenger accommodation was extensively modernized. In 1930 it was even used as an art gallery for one voyage.

In 1932 the Aquitania was used as a cruise ship for the first time. It left New York on 3 February and cruised around the Mediterranean. Further cruises on this route and New York-Bermuda route were accomplished later in the year. In November the ship underwent considerable internal reconstruction. First class accommodation was reduced to 650, tourist class was enlarged but the passenger accommodation reduced to 600 and third class was altered to cater for 950 passengers. All public rooms were renovated and a theatre was added. For the rest of the period up until the Second World War it continued a mixture of Atlantic crossings and cruises.

The Aquitania was then requisitioned as a troop transport on 21 November 1939. At first it was used to transport Canadian troops. During 1940 it underwent a refit in America and was defensively armed with six inch guns. From March onwards it was based in Sydney transporting Australian and New Zealand troops, also making two passages between Pearl Harbour and San Francisco. For the remainder of the war it was employed on the Atlantic, and after the war had ended in the repatriation on Canadian and American troops. Later it was also used to to carry the wives and children of Canadian servicemen over to Canada.

On April 1 1948 it was released by the Ministry of Transport and returned to Cunard. It was then chartered by the Canadian Government to carry Canadian emigrants between Southampton and Halifax. This contract was renewed in 1949. By 1 December 1949 this role had been fulfilled and later that month Cunard announced that the Aquitania would be withdrawn from service. On 9 January 1950 Messrs Hampton & Sons Ltd were employed to auction the vessels furnishings and equipment. Later that month the ship was sold to the British Iron & Steel Corporation Ltd for £125,000. The ship then sailed from Southampton to Faslane, in Scotland where she was broken up.


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Dieppe 1942

In August 1942, the Allies launched a raid on Dieppe in northern France. Dieppe was to prove a bloodbath for the Allies but important lessons were learned for the 1944 D-Day invasion.

Dieppe was selected for an Allied landing in April 1942. Winston Churchill approved the raid for a number of reasons:

It would “discover what resistance would have to be met in the endeavour to seize a port”.

The Dieppe raid was the largest combined operation that had taken place up to that point in the war. It was to be a sea borne raid that had fighter cover from British airbases. There was never a plan to keep Allied troops permanently in their place in Dieppe had the landing succeeded. The plan was for the Allies to launch an attack, create havoc among the German defences in the Dieppe sector and then withdraw – all within the space of about nine hours, the time the tide would allow ships to come close into the shoreline. Such a raid needed perfect planning and the element of surprise if it was to succeed.

Dieppe was very well defended by the Germans who realised its value as a port. The beach area was about 1500 metres long with two headlands at each end. The eastern headland was called ‘Bismarck’ while the western headland was code-named ‘Hindenburg’. ‘Bismarck’ was heavily fortified and riddled with tunnels made an aerial attack out of the question. The biggest problem ‘Bismarck’ posed was the fact that the Allies did not know how well it was armed. It was known that guns were in place at ‘Bismarck’ but no-one in the Allies ranks knew about the number or calibre of the guns there. ‘Hindenburg’ was less well defended but combined with the fire power of ‘Bismarck’, it still posed a major problem for the Allies.

August 18th was the last day that the tides would suit the Allies. On August 17th, 24 landing ships had taken on board their cargo – new Churchill tanks. Sixty fighter squadrons had been put on standby along with seven fighter-bomber and bomber squadrons. Air cover was to come mostly from Spitfire fighter planes. The heaviest gun carried at sea were the 4 inch guns of the destroyers that accompanied the flotilla. On the night of August 18th, 252 ships loaded with troops and equipment sailed from four south coast ports. They sailed behind mine sweepers and in near radio silence. At 03.00 on August 19th, they arrived seemingly undetected 8 miles off of Dieppe.

The bulk of the land attack was carried out by men from the 2nd Canadian Division supported by 1,000 men from the Royal Marine Commandos and some 50 US Rangers – the first Americans to land and fight in German-occupied Europe. The whole area to be attacked was divided into nine different sectors:

Force Beach Target
No 3 Commando Yellow Beach 1 Berneval / Goebbels Battery
No 3 Commando Yellow Beach 2 Belleville-sur-Mer
Royal Regiment of Canada Blue Beach Puys / Rommel Battery
Essex Scottish Regiment Red Beach Dieppe
Royal Hamilton Light Infantry White Beach Dieppe
South Saskatchewan Regt. Green Beach Pourville
Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders Green Beach Pourville
No 4 Commando Orange 1 Beach Vasterival
No 4 Commando Orange Beach 2 Quiberville / Hess Battery

The raid started perfectly. 5,000 men were in their landing craft by 03.30 and five minutes later were heading for their target beach. Then problems occurred. The landing craft carrying the troops were meant to be lined up behind gun-boats. The landing craft for the Royal Regiment of Canada lined up behind the wrong gun-boat, which for the Royal Regiment of Canada would have taken them to the wrong beach. It took twenty minutes in darkness to sort out the problem. Then the gun-boat leading in No 3 Commando to Berneval unexpectedly came across five armed German trawlers. The ensuing fire-fight left the gun-boat beyond use and it left the 20 landing craft carrying the commandos unprotected. As it was, these twenty landing craft had skillfully dispersed in the darkness. However, it would have been impossible for the Germans on the coast not to have heard the gunfire. Any attack on the Germans at Berneval would, therefore, lack surprise. However, one landing craft did land unnoticed and its 20 occupants took out the Goebbels battery based there to such an extent that it failed to fire an effective shot during the time when the landings took place in Dieppe. However, this was the only success of the Dieppe raid.

Elsewhere, the gunfire had warned the Germans of an attack. The various other beach landings were a disaster. The Royal Regiment of Canada, landing at Blue Beach, was cut down by German machine gun fire. The regiment, delayed by 20 minutes by the gun-boat muddle, landed in daylight and paid an appalling price. Of the 27 officers and 516 men landed at Blue Beach, just 3 officers and 57 men got off.

A similar picture was seen on Red, White and Green Beaches. The Allies were unable to provide those attempting to land with sufficient cover. Air power was hampered by the fact that the whole beach area was covered in a deliberately laid smoke screen. However, the smoke meant that pilots could not support the ground troops adequately. The destroyers at sea experienced a similar problem. When four destroyers (Calpe, Fernie, Berkeley and Albrighton) went in dangerously close to the shore line, their four inch guns were no match for the multitude of guns the Germans had access to.

The tanks that had been loaded for the attack were of little use. Where they got ashore and were not destroyed by the Germans anti-tank fire, the shingle on the beach meant that movement was difficult at best, impossible at worst. Canadian Royal Engineers tried their best to help out the stricken tanks but in murderous circumstances. 314 Canadian Royal Engineers were landed at Dieppe 189 were killed or wounded on landing – an attrition rate of 60%. Of the 24 tank landing craft, 10 managed to land their tanks – 28 tanks in total. All the tanks were lost, even though some did manage to leave the beach and get into Dieppe town centre – where they were destroyed.

One serious problem – amongst many – faced the by the force commanders, based on HMS Calpe, was the lack of any decent intelligence coming back from the beaches. So many commanders on the beach were killed, that any intelligible information rarely came back. Therefore, for some time, Major-General H F Roberts, commander of the land forces, and Captain J Hughes-Hallett, commander of the naval forces, knew little of what was going on. As late as 08.00, Roberts ordered in more commandos to re-enforce the attack on White Beach.

By 09.00, it had become obvious what was going on and a withdrawal was ordered. While the men had practiced for a planned withdrawal, what occurred at Dieppe itself was basically getting as many men off as was possible in as short a time as was possible. By early afternoon, those who had survived the attack were on their way back to Britain. The return journey was free from any incident as the Germans did not seem interested in pursuing the Allies, though fighter cover was strong.

The raid on Dieppe cost many lives. Out of the 6,000 men who had taken part in the landings, 4,384 were killed, wounded or missing – a loss of 73%. All the equipment landed on shore was lost. The Royal Navy had lost 550 men and 34 ships. The RAF, in what was the largest single-day air battle of the war, flew 2,617 sorties and lost 106 planes, while the Luftwaffe lost 170 planes

What was learned from Dieppe? Clearly, the lack of any flexibility in Operation Jubilee was a vital lesson learned. Any future major beach landing had to have flexibility built into the plan. Secondly, the sea based fire power against coastal based gun emplacements was very ineffective at Dieppe. Neither ‘Bismarck’ or ‘Hindenburg’ were destroyed and the gunfire that came from both, led to many deaths on the beaches at Dieppe. At D-Day, this lesson was learned when the coastal gun emplacements of the Germans were heavily attacked before the beach landings took place.

Events on August 18th

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18 August 1942 - History


"Sky Dragons"

(Updated 6-26-08)

The XVIII Airborne Corps is the corps size element of the United States Army designed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world. Referred to as "America's Contingency Corps," it is the largest warfighting organization in the U.S. Army. It is headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and controls approximately 88,000 soldiers.

Currently assigned to the Eighteenth Corps is the 3rd Infantry Division, 10th Mountain, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 108th Air Defense Artillery, the 18th Aviation Brigade, the 229th Aviation Regiment, the 20th Engineer Brigade, the 525 Military Intelligence Brigade, the 16th Military Police Brigade, the 35th Signal Brigade, the 1st Corps Support Command, the 44th Medical Brigade, the 18th Finance Group, the 18th Personnel Group, and the Dragon Brigade.

The XVIII Airborne Corps was originally activated as the II Armored Corps on January 17, 1942. When the armored corps concept proved unnecessary, the unit was re-designated as the XVIII Corps at the Presidio of Monterey, California on October 9, 1943. The current XVIII Airborne Corps celebrates its birthday as August 25, 1944 when the blue airborne tab was added. On that day in Orbourne, St. George, England, the XVIII Airborne Corps assumed command of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Within a month the Corps sent their divisions onto a combat jump in the Netherlands for Operation Market Garden.

After the Battle of the Bulge all airborne units in the U.S. Army were placed under the command of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The Corps planned and executed Operation Varsity, the crossing of the Rhine River into Germany, which included the 17th Airborne Division and the British 6th Airborne Division. The Sky Dragons were returned to the United States in June of 1945 and deactivated at Camp Campbell, Kentucky on October 15, 1945.

The XVIII Airborne Corps was reactivated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on May 21, 1951 as part of the army buildup for Korea and the Cold War. Ever since, the XVIII Airborne Corps has been the primary strategic response force for the United States. The Corps and its various subordinate units have participated in over a dozen major operations in both the combat and humanitarian roles.

During Operation Power Pack the Corps deployed to the Dominican Republic on April 30, 1965. The Sky Dragons served as the headquarters for U.S. forces sent to restore law and order, prevent a communist takeover of the country, and to protect American lives. For Operation Urgent Fury, which began on October 25, 1983, the XVIII Airborne Corps invaded the island nation of Grenada. The Corps provided the bulk of land forces sent to rescue medical students and other stranded Americans. In this operation the Corps participated with our Caribbean allies in an international peacekeeping effort.

During Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989, the XVIII Airborne Corps was placed in operational command of Joint Task Force South. The Operation simultaneously struck twenty-seven targets and conducted town night parachute assaults to seize critical terrain. Operation Just Cause set the stage for a freely elected government to be established in the country.

Operation Desert Shield began on August 9, 1990. The XVIII Airborne Corps rapidly deployed to Saudi Arabia as the first ground force in theater to spearhead efforts to deter aggression and assist in the defense of friendly nations. This was the largest deployment of American troops since WWII. The Persian Gulf War started with Operation Desert Storm in February of 1991. The Sky Dragons were responsible for covering VII Corps' northern flank. The XVIII Airborne Corp launched the first ground assault into Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division and the attached French 6th Light Armored Division. The largest, and farthest, air assault in history was conducted by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). A mounted attack was also made by the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. In less than 100 hours the XVIII Airborne Corps had effectively sealed off the occupying Iraqi Army and destroyed major elements of the elite Republican Guard.

During the 1990s the XVIII Airborne Corps has deployed countless Corps soldiers to more than twenty-seven countries that include Bosnia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Haiti. They have also directed countless Joint Exercises that involve all of the services.

The XVIII Airborne Corps' most recent deployments have been in support of America's Global War on Terrorism, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. From January 2005 through January 2006, the Corps was deployed to Baghdad, where it served as the Multi-National-Corps-Iraq. The Sky Dragons deployed again to Iraq in November of 2007.

The XVIII Airborne Corps is superbly trained in tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war. They are capable of exercising the nation's ability to conduct strategic forced entry operations anywhere in the world on 18 hours notice. Those soldiers and veterans who have worn the Sky Dragon shoulder patch are a proud group of men and women who truly served their country on the cutting edge.

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